Armchair Outrage over FISA

"Congress failed us."

That's all I've heard all day long. FISA's been amended to allow for telecom immunity, and warrentless wiretapping and monitoring of American citizens by the government is now jake with the courts.

Congress has failed us!

Blog after blog after blog has said the same thing. Reddit and Fark and Digg (ok, maybe not Digg) and Huffington and DailyKos and half the people I know on Facebook and LiveJournal have all been yelling through their damn keyboards about this horrible outrage! This travesty of checks and balances in our executive and legislative branches!

Big telecom owns the Congress! Wait, no no... Big telecom owns the presidency! Wait - Congress is AFRAID of the President, with his 25% approval rating!

The 4th Amendment is now completely broken and useless!

We've been violated as a nation!



We gave them up. Handed them right over, along with the keys to the castle.

Guess what, folks? Our 4th Amendment was cracked right over the president's knee with the House on one side and the Senate on the other, pushing as hard as they could, when the Patriot Act was signed.

We have routinely allowed for the Supreme Court to rule against the sovereignty of property ownership. We RE-ELECTED a president who - it has now been PROVEN - lied his way into an unjust war which provided massive, and sometimes record, profits for known affilates and long-time business associates of every member of his cabinet, and then we refuse as a nation to demand our Congress follow one determined Representative's initiative to get the son of a bitch to face his sins.

And all of this in the past 8 years. And this is hardly all of them.

I could keep going, back into the 90's and 80's, and find gross and horrible liberties taken with the office we've voted our "leaders" into, and cover my personal lifetime in about 3300 pages of simple summary. Or better yet, here's a pretty comprehensive list since the birth of our nation (and YES, I know I just linked Wikipedia, and YES, I know Wikipedia is an instant invitation to go heaping scorn on the validity of someone's research... But I dare you to compare that list to reference material and prove to me that each and every one of them is not a listed, known scandal). It's easy for me. I'm outraged. On the internet.

Look at me, the digital activist. I'm going to spread my outrage far and wide! And you're going to read my outrage, and maybe YOU'LL be outraged! And maybe then you will spread YOUR outrage and make others outraged, until we're all outraged! ON THE INTERNET!

Then what?

We go vote? For who?

We go stand on a street corner with a red, white and blue sign, promoting candidate-du-jour who promises change and supports the status quo? Or, maybe we get risque and start supporting fringe radicals like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich and Jesse Ventura and Bob Barr (heh, kidding, Barr is a pathetic self-aggrandizing clinger-on who thinks going "Libertarian" can win his right-wing nonsense some validity in this scorn-torn nation)? Maybe THEY will shake things up for us! Maybe they will restore our Constitution and save us! Let's blog about it!

Slactivism. All of it... just plain lazy noise-making.

If only we had examples of a motivated people who mobilize en masse to effect change for causes they care deeply about... HEY! You know, those WTO protesters who get shot with pepper gas every year and scream and yell about the gross injustice the rich nations of the world are perpitrating on the poor... THEY have the right idea. Take to the streets. Show your outrage. Strike some fear into the wrinkled Bourgeois... AND THEY DON'T EVEN LIVE IN THE NATIONS THEY'RE PROTESTING FOR.

Animal rights activists - PeTA! Now THERE'S a group who's playbook we, the Internet Outraged, could borrow from! Go stage massive demonstrations with bullhorns and buckets of red paint! Show the cruel and inhumane slavers of livestock (us) that we won't be controlled by corporations who buy off the leaders we elect! Get whacked with a silly club a few times, maybe get hauled down to prison for standing up for something...

Looking out my window, I've not seen anyone running screaming down the street with a handkerchif tied over their face and a stick in their hand, chanting "I want my 4th Amendment back, and I will accept payment on the interest you owe me in your blood!"

I've not seen a single invitation from Evite or Twitter or Facebook Groups inviting me to a demonstration at Pennsylvania Avenue (or my State's capital, or even my town's city hall). Plenty of pokes, a few jokes about my taste in music... No revolutions, though.

Face it folks... "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country" is dead. We will sit passively by and scream into our TVs-with-typewriters-attached about how angry we are that something we hold so precious - the Constitution - is being ripped apart piece by piece; meanwhile we can't even tell you what was written on the chunks that get torn away. Hell, I bet you can't even name your State's Senators and Representatives without Googling - I can't! I just tried in my own head!

We all beat the damn table when we don't get the portions we feel we deserve... But we end up eating what's been given to us anyway. No one goes back into the kitchen to demand more from the guys we're paying to serve us anymore. We're so used to being told what we'll take as a nation... Our outrage is fuled by images half-remembered from elementary schoolbooks of blue-coated wig-wearing Patriots who played flutes and beat drums and carried a flag while fireworks were lit over Boston as tea was dumped somewhere for some reason, and OH YEAH! BILL OF RIGHTS!

We're going to keep getting what we're being told we should have until we STAND UP AND TAKE WHAT WE DESERVE. And what we deserve is nothing more than what's guaranteed us in the Constitution of the United States of America, and nothing less than the same.

You want change? Quit crying about it and hoping it'll come from somewhere else. Go make change.

"But Joe, what are YOU doing to--"

That's not making change. Questioning my motives and call to action is not making change. It's deflecting your responsibility by hopefully calling into question the guy who's asking you to make yourself accountable for your own ineptitude. I'm doing plenty.

What are YOU doing?

Go make change.